Friday, November 7, 2008

Preparing to grieve

We have prepared in many ways for this adoption. But after reading the stories of other adoptive families, I don't know if I can fully prepare my heart to handle the inevitable grieving for our son's loss.

But then again, how do you prepare to grieve? Those who loose loved ones without notice, don't have time to prepare. Grieving is just that natural and necessary reaction to a loss.

The hardest part of this whole adoption process is knowing that our son will suffer a great loss and we will all share in his grieving over his loss. Once we hear his story, the grieving will begin.

I have felt great sadness over the past few days for this part of our journey. So, maybe the grieving has already begun.

But just when I think we understand this whole adoption process and feel ready to add to our family, there are parts of the journey where I don't know if I'm ready for or not.

Maybe we have not received a referral yet because God knows we are not ready to know our son's story. As we continue to prepare are hearts, there is no better way to prepare than to read the stories of other adoptive families.

The following is a story of one family grieving the loss of a birth family and country with their adopted toddler son. This is a tear jerker but worth the read:

On one hand, it's the first Halloween our little peanut gets to experience...we've kept the goblins/scary stuff pretty much away from him, and instead focused on pumpkins, his costume (very cute little horse) and the fun day we said it would be. He got to wear his costume to school today which made him incredibly happy and participate in the little Halloween parade they do there.

Now for the other's the one year anniversary that he was relinquished. I've been dreading the day, and the closer it's gotten, the more of a weight I've felt on my chest. The enormity of it, how it changed my son's life forever, feels so much more real now the more we settle into our lives together (and the more in love with him we fall) than it ever has before. We adore each other, truly, but the pain of it is almost more than I can bear at the moment. I imagine what his family felt then and what they feel now, what he felt then and what he feels now, suppressed inside his beautiful heart.

Thanks for reading and letting me get this off my chest...need to go home soon and make the rest of the day as fun for him as I promised!

ETA...(sorry this is so long!) so I almost posted Friday night that we ended up having a great day, while my son was a little confused as to what exactly Halloween was, he loved the costumes, candy, etc and the generally festive atmosphere. Then Saturday While I believe I never let on to him how I was feeling inside or that the date (Friday) was anything special other than Halloween, how's this for a child remembering and letting you know he remembered. I should also say he hasn't talked about his past in ET in several months or wanted to if I mentioned it.

So this is how Saturday went:1) in the morning, he put on his new Lightning McQueen rain boots (not raining, just excited to wear them) and about 5 minutes later casually mentioned to me that his (birth parent)used to wear them. ("not the Lightning McQueen kind but the same boots").

2) later in the morning, a bit of a running joke continued...when my husband asked him if he wanted coffee, he said "no, Dad! you're silly!, my husband replied "you used to drink coffee when you were little" (we have a couple of pics of him drinking it in his lifebook)...only this time my son, instead of continuing the joke, answered him very loudly "that's because I didn't have a mommy & a daddy then to tell me!"

3) late in the afternoon, we are in the big farmers market here(heavily populated by Ethiopians) when he sees a few sugar cane stalks in someone's cart...he gets really excited and starts yelling at the man "excuse me, excuse me, where you get that?" and then "mom, please please please, I need that, it's my favorite". I said "I never knew you liked that", he said "it's so long mom, I never see it, please". So we found some to buy but he's still so excited, showing me how we need to cut it and strip it and how he would chew it. I asked when he last had it. He said, "I have it in English", then "no, before". I asked "did you have it where the other children were?" (care center) and he said "no, before that, with (birth parent)", basically that it was a big treat for him. Fast forward an hour later, we are home preparing dinner, but he's insisting on having some sugar cane, we give him a little piece, he's so happy chewing it, showing us how you have to spit it out.

4) coming out of his bath 20 minutes later, out of nowhere he starts singing "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands!" and proceeds to sing much of the song...I now have chills, for those of you who've been through the goodbye ceremony might remember the children (who are staying) singing it to the families who are leaving with their children. I ask "do you know this from school?" he said "no mom, from when you and daddy came to get me".

5) finally, not 5 minutes later I'm bringing him to the kitchen to give him dinner when he starts very sad almost baby like behavior and complaining about how his belly hurts. I ask him if he's just hungry or has to go to the bathroom, he says no "it's the sugar", then "I want daddy". We go to my husband and now in an even more pitiful voice, he says "dad, I need medicine, my belly hurts", "the sugar no good" and "please dad". Then for the first time in many many months, he says he's not hungry for dinner, we can just read books and go to bed. 6) on our way to bed, his face just crumples but he's holding it in...I say "you want to cry" he nods and I say "it's ok, go ahead"...he then sobs like he hasn't in months and months. I ask if he's sad, he nods, if he's mad, he nods again, I ask at who? at mommy?, he nods, at daddy?, he nods, at (birth parent)?, he nods again. I ask if he can say why, he just says "the sugar".

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